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Carolyn 4th Mar 2019 Activity Co-ordinator
Im the Activity Co-ordinator in a care home for the elderly with mostly late stage dementia.
In the mornings most residents sit in the lounge and from 10am-12.15, I have to provide an activity. Theres little space so ball games or similar are out of the question.
I find two hours too long for one activity, both for the residents and myself. The Manageress and myself are trying to get staff to encourage residents into the conservatory area when Ive located a table and theres more space, but care staff seem to have formed a habit of guiding the residents into the lounge, saying things like "they prefer to be in here" I think the residents are taken in there because its asier for the staff.
There is a lady who s dementia is in the very late stages and always makes a continous loud noise and always sits in the conservatory. Hense when I try to do an activity in there, staff are reluctant to take her out and it puts the remaining residents off going into the room. Im at my wits end as how to cope. Ive been an Activity Co-ordinator for many years and in the past alway allowed approx an hour for an activity, as it seemed the best length of time for the residents. Im exhausted with the battle. Anyone any ideas.
Susan 5th Mar 2019 Activity Director
Hi Carolyn
I had a group of low functioning residents
I like to do a one to one activity with in the group
Low functioning residents need one to one interaction
I used to go around the room and talk to each person individually facilitating a group interaction
I would say the resident's name and say
How does that make you feel
As you know feelings are the last thing to go
I think a Music activity would be good because it does not take up a lot of space and many residents can relate to music even if they are non verbal
Chereyne 5th Mar 2019 Lifestyle Co-ordinator
We use music and singing alot. Golden Memories Karoke have great DVD's for you to sing along with the resident and more often than not the residents respond and sing with us. Poems and short stories might also break it up. We have a resident that made a constant noise and looked back into her past and found she was religious and will have a 1:1 doing a rosary or saying prayers with her, she joins in.
Good luck

*ps there are many other karoke dvds or even try Youtube has alot of music your residents will relate to
Susan 6th Mar 2019 Activity Director
Hi Carolyn
I like Chereyne's suggestions
I like music also
I've played it a game that I called name that tune but instead of playing the music I would say the first word of the title and then see if someone could say the whole title
I would keep adding words to the title till someone would name the song
Then we would sing the song
If you have a really low functioning group then make cards with numbers one through 12 one number on each card
Then make a list of 12 songs of the residents favorite songs
Give each person a turn picking a card and sing the song with the matching number on the list
Using touch is very important squeezing a residents hand or patting or rubbing their back makes them feel good usually
Make sure to address each resident by name
Here are some other suggestions on Golden Carers https://www.goldencarers.com/how-to-plan-music-activities-for-dementia-care/3192/
https://www.goldencarers.com/hand-massage-nail-care/3222/
Let me know if I can be of further assistance
Sharon 1st Apr 2019 Activity Coordinator
Praying for you Carolyn. God bless you sweetie.
Kelly 4th Apr 2019 Activities Co-ordinator
I work in a similar environment,middle to end stage dementia. I tend to do 1-1 sessions in the morning with an allocated few or that day, and for the rest in the area I put on some music or hand out some quizzes, reading materials for those who can.
The mornings are very busy with carers assisting with morning routines and breakfasts that it just didn't make sense fr me to do a group session in the morning. I do my group sessions in an afternoon.
Elisa 4th Apr 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator
Hi, I have a system to help floor staff to help residents move to specific locations at specific times for group activities or just to avoid "warehousing" and overcrowding rooms. I make lists of residents with times and locations that are available for the staff to consult.
It is not a panacea, and it is time consuming but at least if it is not followed you can go to the line manager and ask for reasons why it has not been followed.

So for example, where I work now all the residents used to go to the activity room for exercises (25 to 35 residents every day) and many could not follow the exercises due to disability or did not want to do exercises. So I started the list, and now we have 17 residents who want to do the exercises and can manage a big group, and the rest are helped into a "Morning club" led by a carer that focusess more on residents with higher needs and a siting room for those who want a relaxed morning.

I would make a list for each day, for each room and each "activity". So in the morning there was a list for the exercises, a list for the morning club and a list for the TV room and in the afternoon there was a list for each sitting room, and each planned activity. If one has acces to a computer and printer, it is easier as you can copy and paste, I do not have access to a computer so is is done by hand on a whipe clean pages. Those lists are given to the nurse in charge in the afternoon for the next morning and the nurse have to read them aloud during the morning handover and are left in a handy place to be consulted when needed. Once everybody gets used to the system, I started writing the list of the group activities only.

Susan 4th Apr 2019 Activity Director
Wow Elisa
It sounds like you are doing a great job I hope all appreciate your efforts
Elisa 5th Apr 2019 Senior Activity Coordinator
My manager seems to appreciate, however I still have more difficulties explaining to nurses and care assistants why 30 people in a room for a group qctiviry might not be a good idea and why residents should not be left in a single place just because it's easier not to move them around regardless of their interest or ability.
Susan 5th Apr 2019 Activity Director
I know Carers can be resistive
Rest assured that the residents appreciate your efforts
Perhaps you can have a contest to motivate the Carers to bring people to the appropriate places or you can ask if they have any ideas
We had a system where we gave out cards that said I caught you doing something good
Then all those who got a card brought it to the personnel director and she picked out one card a month and gave them a prize
It seemed to be motivating
However you need to give the Carers positive reenforcement
Good luck
Thanks for all you do
Solange 5th Apr 2019 Diversional Therapist
Hi Elisa, unfortunately, it is an ongoing problem. The nurses are still ‘task-oriented’ despite efforts in the industry to change this system. The best policy is to befriend carers so cooperation is forthcoming without grudges.
In the meantime try to divide the residents into 3 or 4 groups and have volunteers to help you. It is almost impossible to care for large groups the way they deserve without help. All the best.

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